According to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) website, the transition to digital LSAT tests will begin in July 2019.
Kellye Testy, President and CEO of LSAC, stated that the conversion to digital LSAT testing will be completed in North America beginning in September 2019. “We’ve planned this transition carefully to ensure that candidates have all the information they need to decide their preferred testing schedule,” Testy said.
The July 2019 start date was made in consideration of students in the current testing year who expected to take the LSAT in the existing hard copy format. The change will take place after most of these students have submitted their law school applications. Candidates taking the test in July 2019 will be given either paper-and-pencil or digital tests, which is the most effective way under educational testing standards to change to a new method of testing.
Making the Transition
In order to make the transition easier, LSAC is also giving July test-takers a unique chance. Whichever format they use, these students will be able to see their score prior to deciding whether to cancel it. Candidates deciding to cancel can choose to take the test again through April 2020 without an additional charge.
The organization of the test sections and questions will be the same as the paper-and-pencil LSAT. Testy stated that LSAC will provide free online tutorials “so we don’t think test takers will have any problems moving to the digital version. In our field tests, candidates found the Digital LSAT easy to use. That said, we wanted to provide additional options for those who register for our July transitional test.”
The Digital LSAT has been in the works for several years, as LSAC has been working on both better security and a better experience for the test-takers. Students will take the test on a tablet loaded with LSAC’s patented software which includes a number of features that will help test-takers and law schools, including quicker test score reporting. Candidates can continue to use existing LSAT-prep materials. New resources for practice tests specifically on tablets will be released soon.
LSAC sees the Digital LSAT as a way to increase accessibility to test-takers with disabilities. The tablets will allow for changes in type sizes and has a built-in screen reader as well as additional improvements that will provide a better testing experience for those that need such assistance.
While moving to the Digital LSAT, LSAC has added dates to its testing calendar. There will be nine opportunities to take the test in the 2019-2020 testing year, up from six this year.
Testy’s stated goal is “to make it easy and convenient for candidates to pursue their passion for law and justice.”
While LSAC has been planning this move to a computer-based test for a while, it may also be feeling competitive heat from the GRE. Since 2016, a growing number of law schools have been accepting the GRE in addition to the LSAT. The GRE is computer-based and has made great efforts to be “test-taker friendly.”
I don’t think law school admissions will be LSAT-only anymore, and LSAC is preparing for a world where test-takers will choose which test to take. Test-takers will be the ones to decide on the exam they feel they can do well on and the exam that provides a better test-taking experience. LSAC obviously wants them to choose the LSAT.
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